SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Last month, for the first time in over a decade, FOX Television’s longstanding series The Simpsons took home an Emmy, the shiny gold trophy awarded to its writer and co-executive producer Michael Price, a native of South Plainfield.
At the Sept. 14 Creative Arts Emmys, Price’s episode ‘Mad About the Toy’ garnered the animated series its 11th win in the ‘Outstanding Animated Program’ category. While The Simpsons – TV’s longest running scripted series – has been nominated over a dozen times over the years, the show – and Price – last took home an Emmy in this category in 2008.
According to Price, hearing his name called came as a complete surprise, particularly since the show, although nominated eight times in the past 11 years, hadn’t won. “We’ve been around a very long time - this is our 30th season. I kind of thought maybe our time has passed,” Price said, adding that the win also came as a surprise considering the other nominees. This year, contenders included Big Mouth (Netflix), BoJack Horseman (Netflix), Bob’s Burgers (FOX) and Come Along with Me (Cartoon Network).
“Every year, the other shows that are nominated are always so good and this year was no different. I was very happily surprised that we won,” said Price.
Price began working on The Simpsons in 2002 and, over the years, has written over 20 episodes and been nominated for 14 Emmys over the course of his tenure with the show. While he took home an Emmy for his work as a co-executive producer in both 2006 and 2008, the former borough resident said this year’s win was ‘extra special.’
“Every season, the show submits one episode for Emmy consideration and while I won twice previously for shows that I worked on, I didn't write them myself. This is extra special for me because it was my idea,” said Price, giving credit to the team of ‘really funny people’ who all work together on each episode. “I wrote the first draft and everyone helped rewrite it.”
Price grew up in South Plainfield and is a member of the high school’s Class of 1976. He went on to earn to bachelor’s degree in theater from Montclair State University and a master’s in directing for theater from Tulane University. In the beginning of his career, Price acted in, directed, and wrote plays for Newark’s Ironbound Theatre Company as well as wrote and performed sketch comedy for the Manhattan-based Gotham City Improv.
Over the years, Price worked on several Disney and Nickelodeon shows and was the writer/producer for What About Joan, a sitcom starring Joan Cusack, and The PJs, an animated series starring Eddie Murphy. In addition to working on The Simpsons for the past 17 years, he also served as a script consultant on The Simpsons Movie and was on the writing team for the Academy Award-nominated short Maggie Simpson: The Longest Daycare. Price is also currently the executive producer and writer of the Netflix animated comedy series F is for Family, which he co-created with series star Bill Burr.
Price relocated to California in 1992 and currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife, author Monica Holloway, their son, Wills, and ‘a couple of dogs.’ Although he no longer resides in the borough, Price still has strong ties to the South Plainfield community; his dad passed away in 2008 but his mother, Marjorie, and brother, Bill, both still live in town, and he tries to visit several times a year.
Additionally, he has, over the years, incorporated little pieces of his family life and hometown into his shows. While some ‘jokes’ and ‘jabs’ have made it onto The Simpsons, on F is for Family, which is set in the 1970s, Price has named characters after former neighbors and teachers as well as developed a South Plainfield-inspired neighborhood – complete with a house on a dead end similar to his own childhood Cotton Street home.
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